AUSTIN (KXAN) - Itchy, watery eyes, congestion--and December. It's a combination likely best explained by cedar allergies.
The pollen from the trees is a very potent allergen that puts a damper on thousands of central Texans. The Cedar Fever season is getting off to a slightly early start this year.
On a December day in Austin, Peoples Pharmacy on North Lamar is busy with customers in and out, with a common question: Where are the allergy medications?
Wendy Colonna fights the recurring battle many central Texans fight with cedar tree allergies.
"I generally have sort of a dry throat and scratchy eyes and fatigue," Colonna says.
Doctor John Dice with Allergy and Asthma Consultants in Austin says he's starting to see patients with cedar allergies.
"They're coming in with the typical allergy symptoms, usually the worst thing is the sneezing and the congestion. Some of them have just horrible, watery, itchy, red eyes, or a runny nose--and coughing," Dr. Colonna says.
He says the best way to protect yourself is by avoiding the outdoors, but that's only so practical. So, he says you can treat your symptoms with over-the-counter medications. Antihistamines tend to do the trick. But in the worst of the cedar fever season, Dr. Dice says more extensive treatment is needed.
"There are more long-term medicines we use like the various nasal sprays and treatments," Dr. Dice says, "For our chronic, recurring patients who are just sick every year, we often talk about allergy shots."
Colonna doesn't let allergies keep her inside. She says her cases of cedar fever tend to be more mild.
"My very best friend actually had to leave Austin after battling the cedar fever for several years because he couldn't function for that three month period. It was just horrible," says Colonna.
She's happy a trip to the pharmacy--maybe the doctor here and there--is as far as she'll need to go.
The Cedar Fever Season typically starts in mid-December, and it can last through March.
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